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Thursday, 5 September 2013

SAARC to form economic union, set up development bank

SAARC to form economic union, set up development bank

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation member states have decided to form an economic union and establish a development bank for accelerating regional economic integration.
Finance, industries and commerce ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka met in the SAFTA ministerial council in Colombo. They also stressed the importance of expeditious action for enhancing intra-SAARC trade.
The meeting called for prompt action by the member states for issuance of notification for implementation of trade liberalisation programme under South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), further reduction of sensitive list under phase-III, and provision of information of intra-SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) trade flows under SAFTA.
The South Asian leaders also underscored the need for addressing appropriately non-tariff issues including conformity assessment, regional standards, recognition of certificates and other trade facilitation measures so that SAARC could move towards South Asian Economic Union (SAEU).
The ministers also stressed the importance of making the South Asia Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) operational as soon as possible with appointment of its first director general.
The leaders also underlined the importance of early operation of the economic and infrastructure windows of SAARC development fund. Emphasising the need for conversion of SDF into SAARC development bank they said it would be better placed to meet the huge financial needs of infrastructure development in the region.